It felt good that the first race was finally upon us. On the plate was a 15km individual start skate race. We couldn't warm up on the course, so I ended up going back and forth along what was available while dodging recreational skiers. They didn't have a lot of snow, but the organizers along with others spent a lot of time picking rocks off the course. We would be skiing 2 laps of 7.5k, including the upper 5k loop, which had never been used before.
I had a good start and my skis felt good as I left the stadium. Then my left ski grabbed on the first downhill and I knew I had hit a rock. My ski seemed to squeak as it landed after that, or it might have been something with the binding that I hadn't noticed before. The snow seemed slow on the uphills, but I tried to just ski technically well and take whatever glide I could get. Butler caught me (for 30 seconds) at 11k and opted to draft for a couple ks before launching past with about 2k to go. I fought hard but he had that extra spring you get when you are going for the podium. He ended up 3rd and me 13th in 40:26.5, 2:07.9 back. Full results.